Four Cheese Baked Pasta

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Something with this much cheese can’t be wrong. 

Something with this much cheese can't be wrong
 

This cheese packed pasta bake comes from a recent Rachael Ray magazine article. The article was about making large amounts of food when you have to serve up a large group.

 

This recipe originally was written to serve 20 people… but with just the four of us, I cut it in half. This would be perfect for the holidays if you were having a large crowd over for dinner.

 

A quick side note. This is an adult four cheese bake. hehe. The four cheeses used are parmigiano-reggiano, gorgonzola, mozzarella and fontina. Mozzarella and fontina both have a mild, sweet flavor, but the stinky parm and gorgonzola really give this pasta a kick.

 

I love the strong cheese flavor and had my fingers crossed that my little girls would too. (I mean, come on…. the Little D eats whole jars of capers and can’t keep her hands off smoked oysters. Hopes were high for her to like it!) But after one bite, the “ewwww” face was turned on.

 

Lucky for me, I was prepared! I had some marinara sauce on hand. With just a couple spoonfuls of that mixed into the girls bowl… we had a WINNER. They loved it! So, if you are making this, and have children, let them give it a try, but have some marinara on hand to sweeten it up a bit for little ones.

 

Remember, this can easily be doubled for a large crowd to serve 20. You will need double the ingredients and 2 baking dishes if you choose that route.

XO Corey
PS. The winter months are killing me with the lack of natural light after 4pm. I apologize for the not so attractive pictures!

 

Serves 10
Here is what you need:
1 lb penne
3/4 stick of butter
2 tbsp of flour
3 cups milk, warmed
7 oz freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
4oz gorgonzola, crumbled
4 oz mozzarella, preferably fresh, finely diced
4 oz fontina, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

 

1. Grease a 9×13 in baking dish. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta, stirring often, just until al dente (it will cook again when it’s baked) Drain, then rinse will with cold water. Place pasta into baking dish and set aside.

 

2.Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, about 1 cup at a time and cook, whisking until the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Cook, whisking for 1 more minute.

3. Add 3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano and all of the gorgonzola, mozzarella and fontina; remove from the heat and stir occasionally unit the cheese melt. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.

4.Pour sauce over the pasta. Set aside.

5. In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 1minutes.

Stir in the panko and 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring until nicely golden, 3-4 minutes. Let the panko cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, then stir in remaining parmigiano-reggiano and the parsley.

6. DO NOT ADD PANKO YET! Bake the pasta until bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes.

 

After the 25 minutes are up, sprinkle the panko topping on top and bake for 5 minutes more. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Secret weapon I mentioned in the opening to make more appealing to children.

 

But let them try  the real-deal first…. they might like it!

Like I said before, Darryl and I loved this dish, and the girls did also, after adding the secret weapon.

It also reheated well for lunch the  next day:)

Not gonna lie… I totally forgot to take a picture of us eating this yummy meal…. so here is a picture of us waiting in line to see Santa last week to distract you! (as you can  see, Little D was a little nervous  about meeting the big guy! heheh)
XO  Corey

 

 

Four Cheese Baked Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • Here is what you need:
  • 1 lb penne
  • ¾ stick of butter
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups milk, warmed
  • 7 oz freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 4oz gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 4 oz mozzarella, preferably fresh, finely diced
  • 4 oz fontina, cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ¾cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9x13 in baking dish. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta, stirring often, just until al dente (it will cook again when it's baked) Drain, then rinse will with cold water. Place pasta into baking dish and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt ½ a stick of butter over medium heat.
  4. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the mild, about 1 cup at a time and cook, whisking until the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Cook, whisking for 1 more minute.
  5. Add ¾ cup parmigiano-reggiano and the gorgonzola, mozzarella and fontina; remove from the heat and sire occasionally unit the cheese melt. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.
  6. Pour sauce over the pasta. Set aside.
  7. In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 1 minutes. Stir in the panko and ⅛ tsp each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until nicely golden, 3-4 minutes. Let the panko cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, then stir in remaining parmigiano-reggiano and the parsley.
  8. DO NOT ADD PANKO YET! Bake the pasta until bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes are up, sprinkle the panko topping on top and bake for 5 minutes more. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

 

Comments

  1. oh my gosh! this looks soooo yummy!!

    do your girls wear their PJ’s to see Santa? If so, that’s SUCH a cute idea!!!!

  2. Yes they do! Fleece footies baby! Well….for as long as they let me drag them to the mall in their PJ’s hehehe.

  3. LOVE that idea! Makes total sense too – duh! Don’t know why I never thought of that. So adorable!

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